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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:14pm
NewsHong Kong

Beijing warns US to stay out of Hong Kong politics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 7:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 11:36am

Beijing's top diplomat in Hong Kong has warned the American consul general to steer clear of the debate on the city's constitutional development.

Song Zhe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' commissioner in Hong Kong, spoke out after the United States consul general Clifford Hart said he was looking forward to Hongkongers' move towards "genuine democratic suffrage". Hart made the remark just a day after he took up the post on July 30.

[We] look forward to Hong Kong's continued progress toward genuine universal suffrage … in accordance with the Basic Law … and the aspirations of the Hong Kong people
US consulate spokesman

A spokesman for the US consulate responded that the United States' long-standing policy towards Hong Kong was unchanged. Echoing Hart's words, he added: "[We] look forward to Hong Kong's continued progress toward genuine universal suffrage … in accordance with the Basic Law … and the aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

Song's office reported that the commissioner met Hart on Tuesday and briefed him on "the successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' policy in Hong Kong and stated the central government's position on relevant issues".

The report added: "Song emphasised that the development of Hong Kong's political system is its own internal affairs. Foreign governments and officials should not interfere.

"The Chinese side is firmly against interference in Hong Kong's affairs by any outside forces in regard to the Basic Law and the relevant decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"[Song] hoped that US representation and personnel in Hong Kong respect 'one country, two systems'."

The report added that they should also "refuse to use any pretext to conduct undue activities and refuse to do anything that would hurt Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and the overall interests of China-US relations".

It was the third such warning directed at US representatives in recent months. On May 16 and again on July 19, a spokesman for Song's office said that no foreign government or official should "make reckless comments about" constitutional development in Hong Kong.

It followed remarks by outgoing US consul general Stephen Young that preparations to engage all parties in discussions on electoral reform should begin as early as possible.

Hart is a Putonghua speaker with 30 years' experience, including five postings in China.

In his arrival statement on July 31, he said he felt honoured to "be here for the next phase of Hong Kong's democratic development and progress towards genuine universal suffrage under the 'one country, two systems' framework".

After a closed-door meeting with executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee on August 20, Hart was quoted by Ip as saying that "he hoped that different sectors in Hong Kong can reach consensus on universal suffrage and that people from different backgrounds can run for the election in 2017".

One of Hart's top priorities is expected to be rebuilding trust with Hong Kong following the Edward Snowden saga.

Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong despite a Washington request to arrest him on espionage charges.



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This article is now closed to comments

Crying foul all the time is a great way to look weak.
Dai Muff
I think Beijing should stop interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs. One country, two systems, remember?
The Communist Party's position is so pathetic it can't even withstand innocuous comments of this sort. Laughable, really.
chinese should play it smart...
china ambassador to US should visit black neighborhood of detroit, south central LA, chicago southside then release statement urging US to protect the civil rights of black americans.
then go visit East LA, Tex/Mex border and call for US to protect the human rights of migrant workers and grant illegals green cards..
John Adams
Good idea !
If the Chinese ambassador to US went around America preaching on civil rights, gun laws, handling of illegal immigrants etc ( or the fact that USA companies covertly and illegally sell stuff to Iraq to make bombs) he would be crucified and the US would force China to recall him.
But the US consul in HK can say whatever he likes.
There's something wrong about all this and it reeks to me of hypocrisy.
The problem for the US is that there's now so much hypocrisy there that what would have caused an international scandal 10 years ago can now be treated as an off-the-cuff remark by an incoming US consul to HK.
Harold Cameron
The US. Should stay out of every country's politics as they always, without fail, make things worse- Iraq, Afghanistan,Libya, & no doubt before too long, Syria. Their ONLY interest is the interest of themselves & they don't care about anyone else, despite what they say.
Currently they are about to interfere in Syria because of ghastly chemical weapons yet they have nuclear weapons which are far worse- & I have no doubt they would use them again as they have done so previously.
Under the basic law, foreign affairs do not fall into the scope of internal HK affairs. As such, it may be time to consider to relocate this embassy to Shenzhen.
Whether it’s infantilism or dementia
the US seems constantly in need
of toilet training
Hey, be careful...you'll "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."
@jayb, John Adams:
You, or anyone else from China, official or not, are more than welcome to make speeches in the US about human rights & values. That's like the CBA basketball team giving lectures to the NBA Dream Team about how to play basketball. Good luck not getting laughed off the podium.



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